The First Secret: One Minute Goals
WHEN the young man arrived at Trenell’s office, he found a middle-aged man smiling at him. “Well, you’ve been to see the ‘ole man.’ He’s quite a guy, isn’t he?”
“He seems that way,” the young man responded.
“Did he tell you about being a One Minute Manager?”
“He sure did. It’s not true, is it?” asked the young man.
“You’d better believe it is. I hardly ever see him.”
“You mean you never get any help from him?” puzzled the young man.
“Essentially very little, although he does spend some time with me at the beginning of a new task or responsibility. That’s when he does One Minute Goal Setting.”
“One Minute Goal Setting. What’s that?” said the young man. “He told me he was a One Minute Manager, but he didn’t say anything about One Minute Goal Setting.”
“That’s the first of the three secrets to One Minute Management,” Trenell answered.
“Three secrets?” the young man asked, wanting to know more.
“Yes,” said Trenell. “One Minute Goal Setting is the first one and the foundation for One Minute Management. You see, in most organizations when you ask people what they do and then ask their boss, all too often you get two different lists. In fact, in some organizations I’ve worked in, any relationship between what I thought my job responsibilities were and what my boss thought they were, was purely coincidental. And then I would get in trouble for not doing something I didn’t even think was my job.”
“Does that ever happen here?” asked the young man.
“No!” Trenell said. “It never happens here. The One Minute Manager always makes it clear what our responsibilities are and what we are being held accountable
“Just how does he do that?” the young man wanted to know.
“Efficiently,” Trenell said with a smile.
Trenell began to explain. “Once he has told me what needs to be done or we have agreed on what needs to be done, then each goal is recorded on no more than a single page. The One Minute Manager feels that a goal, and its performance standard, should take no more than 250 words to express. He insists that anyone be able to read it within a minute. He keeps a copy and I keep a copy so everything is clear and so we can both periodically check the progress.
“Do you have these one-page statements for every goal?”
“Yes,” answered Trenell.
“Well, wouldn’t there be a lot of these one-page statements for each person?”
“No, there really aren’t,” Trenell insisted. “The old man believes in the 80-20 goal-setting rule. That is, 80% of your really important results will come from 20% of your goals. So we only do One Minute Goal Setting on that 20%, that is, our key areas of responsibility – maybe three to six goals in all. Of course, in the event a special project comes up, we set special One Minute Goals.”
“Interesting,” the young man commented. “I think I understand the importance of One Minute Goal Setting. It sounds like a philosophy of ‘no surprises’ – everyone knows what is expected from the beginning.”
“Exactly,” Trenell nodded.
“So is One Minute Goal Setting just understanding what your responsibilities are?” the young man asked.
“No. Once we know what our job is, the manager always makes sure we know what good performance is. In other words, performance standards are clear. He shows us what he expects.”
“How does he do that – show you what he expects?” asked the young man.
“Let me give you an example,” Trenell suggested.
“One of my One Minute Goals was this: Identify performance problems and come up with solutions which, when implemented, will turn the situation around.